Monday, January 14, 2013

Corruption - Ezeife, Utomi, Yakassi, Babatope, Others Differ On Solution

EMINENT persons, opposition parties and activists have endorsed the claim that President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration were not properly fighting the war against corruption.
While the opposition rounded against what they alleged to be the administration's incoherence in the war against graft, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP sympathizers sought for understanding for the president with assertions that the president could not fight it alone.
A group of elder-statesmen known as The Patriots, led by legal icon, Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN) had last Thursday among other things blamed the president for "failure to punish appropriately and promptly the few persons in high positions found guilty of corruption."
The group also lamented the accelerating descent of the country towards what they claimed a failed state.
Responding to the claims of the elder-statesmen, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Progressive Peoples Alliance, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) among others described the administration's campaign against graft as hollow, hypocritical and wholly ineffectual.
Social critics Prof. Pat Utomi, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and Alhaji Tanko Yakassi sharply disagreed on the culpability of the administration in the failed anti-graft war.
Former President of National Economic Summit Group (NESG), Prof Anya O Anya, said the views of The Patriots were not in context and promised to elaborate later. "Those are the opinion of The Patriots. I am just coming from Enugu. I want to see things in context. I will talk about it later," he said.
The Patriots 're meticulous - Ezeife
To former Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, The Patriots had hit the nail on the head and could not be faulted in their assertions.
"From the beginning up to now, anytime The Patriots meet, I take them seriously. Apart from being eminent persons and elders, they don't talk carelessly, they are always meticulous," he argued.
Endorsing the assertion of the elder-statesmen, Professor Utomi said: "There are no doubts that issues raised at the meeting remain of immense concern on the mind of many Nigerians. The Security situation in this country is embarrassing and there is no professionalism in the way we handle things in this country."
"The issue of corruption and security is worth reflecting on and it has shown how dysfunctional Nigeria has been. Professor Nwabueze and others were very correct on their stand on Nigeria and it is sad that people behind the insecurity situation in this country walk free today.
"It is not only when someone steals N10 billion pension money and transfers it to his personal account, it is beyond stealing or abuse of our commonwealth but the fact remains that corruption has been so legalised in this country now that every politician sees it as a right thing to do in office. We need strong institutions to be able to curb Nigeria's many problems that are affecting us today."
FG needs to evolve a proactive strategy - Yakassai
Yakasai on his part said the Federal Government needs to evolve a proactive strategy to fight corruption in Nigeria.
"Under the current situation I would like to say without fear of contradiction that the Federal Government has not given the impression that they are fighting the scourge."
The former Special Adviser to President Shehu Shagari on National Assembly Matters noted however hinged the near incapacitation of the regime on what he described as "procedural technicalities", adding that until the law is given a facelift the status quo would remain.
The Octogenarian also advocated the establishment of Special Courts to try corruption cases. "We need to set up special courts and appeal to try cases relating to corruption and sharp practices to relieve the conventional courts and also allow the Apex court to have a final say. We have seen in several instances where the so called big fishes hired the services of high profile lawyers to defend their cases."
Chief Babatope on his part said: "For me, the opinion of top citizens of this country cannot be discarded and there is nothing wrong for them to express their opinion on the state of the nation but I disagree with some of their arguments."

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